Look up the word “Inspiration” in the thesaurus and you will find the following: “motivation”, “stimulation”, “encouragement” and “muse”. All strong words, all perfectly descriptive of the 95 young adults I recently had the privilege of teaching. They truly are an inspiration. These courageous young people between the ages of 19 – 35 have all been diagnosed with cancer (they call it the “C-Word”), some currently in treatment and others years in remission. They came from across Canada to spend a weekend in Toronto at the Young Adult Cancer Conference, or YACC, for 3 days of education, fitness and friendship.
I had the distinct honour of teaching the group two early morning Yoga-Lates classes at their hotel conference centre. To say it was a humbling experience is a grand understatement at best. This class wasn’t just different because everyone had cancer – this class felt different. It wasn’t until later that I fully grasped why. It hit me.
That class felt different because of the palpable energy in the room. These young people were all there in support of each other. They were there out of courage, love and hope. There was no ego, no one trying to outshine another – only a true desire for growth and healing.
We cannot always control what happens to us in this life, but we can always control our reaction. We have a choice even at the worst of times. The young people at YACC all shared something in common besides their cancer diagnoses – everyone one of them chose courage, hope and authenticity. It is for this reason that I call them heroes. Imagine if every one of us did the same? They are an inspiration for us all.
Side note: The YACC fitness classes would not have been possible without the generous support of Sport Chek who donated all the brand new yoga mats for the survivors. Thank you for supporting such a noble cause and making a difference!